Both Jesus Christ and the apostle Paul predicted that Christianity would be infiltrated by false teachings. (Matthew 13:24, 25, 36-40; 2 Timothy 4:3) After the death of Jesus’ apostles, the idea took root that it would be appropriate to hold a fast (now known as Lent), followed by a feast, at Passover season. Somehow this became thought of as a way to commemorate Christ’s resurrection.
Easter’s ascendancy as a festival thus was not Bible based. In fact, scholars claim that the very word Easter is of Anglo-Saxon origin, referring to the springtime. During that season, the ancients thought the sun was reborn after months of winter death. Other terms for the festival, such as pâques or pasqua, are derived from the ancient Hebrew word pe′sach, or “passover.” Christendom argues that Easter replaces this Jewish festival. But this ignores the fact that Jesus replaced the Passover, not with Easter, but with his memorial supper.
Historian Socrates therefore concluded: “It seems to me that the feast of Easter has been introduced into the church from some old usage, just as many other customs have been established.” The plethora of Easter traditions indeed comes from “some old usage”—the usage of idolatrous nations! Catholic priest Francis X. Weiser admitted: “Some of the popular traditions of Lent and Easter date back to ancient nature rites.” These rites of spring were originally designed to “frighten the demons of winter away.”
Easter customs—eggs, bunnies, and bonfires—are therefore not cleansed by being practiced by Christians. Rather, they defile anyone practicing them.—Compare Haggai 2:12, 13.
Admittedly, the sight of children scrambling for brightly colored eggs may seem “charming.” The same could be said for many Easter customs. But are they simply harmless fun? Said one Greek café owner: “I know that the egg—it is stupid; and the bunny—more stupid; and that we fast for 40 days before Easter—it’s stupid. But this adds a bit of spice to our life.”
Easter sunrise services originated with sun worshipers. The New Encyclopædia Britannica explains that the hare was “the symbol of fertility in ancient Egypt.” Thus when children hunt for Easter eggs, supposedly brought by the Easter rabbit, “this is not mere child’s play, but the vestige of a fertility rite.”—Funk & Wagnalls Standard Dictionary of Folklore, Mythology and Legend, volume 1, page 335.
The challenge now to those who know the truth about Easter is whether they will act upon what they know or not.